Thursday, March 27, 2008

Study: Farrier Selection Impacts More Than Hoof Shape - Full Article

by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
March 21 2008, Article # 11531

Choice of farrier may have a significant influence not only on the shape of a horse's hoof, but its soundness and athletic ability as well, according to new research carried out by veterinarians in Switzerland.

Forty dressage and show jumping horses, divided into six groups, were trimmed and shod by one of six selected farriers over a period of one year. Their hooves were periodically evaluated and compared by radiographic exam. Of 15 variable parameters evaluated, 14 differed significantly among farriers, according to an article based on the study and forthcoming in The Veterinary Journal. Parameters included dorsal wall length, hoof angle, sole thickness, the distance from the cannon bone to the toe and wall, and other lengths and angles measured from front and side views.

Although all the parameters can affect the hoof's shape, toe length and mediolateral (side-to-side) hoof balance are most important for the horse's overall soundness...


Friday, March 21, 2008

History of Kabardian horses - Full Article

Kabardian breed has evolved from many eastern breeds of steppe horses (Nogai, Kalmuk, Bashkir, Don), Mongolian breeds and then was enhanced with best purebred breeds of that time (Karabakh, Persian, Akhal-Teke).

Arabian breed also was used in the process of forming the Kabardian horse. One of these lines, especially well known for its speed was called "Shagdi" ("faster than a bullet").

Careful human selection over more than 500 years has taken the best features of all the breeds to produce an excellent army and work horse.

Traditional methods of breeding in harsh, mountain region utilised the nature itself to produce a horse which is extremely tough and resistant to difficul environmental conditions.


Name "Kabardian horse" is name given to the horses by people from outside, because country of Kabarda (part of Circassian lands) was most popular place to breed horses thanks to its excellent pastures...


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Transition Horses to Spring Pasture Gradually - Full Article

When grasses start greening up in the spring, you might be tempted to turn your horse loose in the pasture to chow down on the new grass.

But be aware that any sudden change in your horse's diet could cause health problems, said Steve Jones, associate professor/extension equine specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

"Whether it's the grain, hay or pasture grass, any change in the horse's diet should be spread over several days or weeks," Jones said. "Increases in the amount of grain given to a horse should be added at a half-pound a day until the desired amount of grain is reached."

Grain increases may be needed because of an increase in activity level or for a mare during lactation. If the grain amount is increased too quickly, colic or laminitis can occur.

When introducing a new type of hay or grain...


Friday, March 14, 2008

OMEGA supports Endurance Cup

11 January 2008
Khaleej Times
DUBAI — The prestigious Swiss watchmaker OMEGA announced its partnership with the Dubai Equestrian Club as 4-year sponsor of the His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup Endurance Race, which will take place at the Dubai Endurance City under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on January 12, a Press release said.

"Endurance horse racing is a sport that demands perseverance, dedication and a great deal of understanding between the horse and its rider," said Nayla Hayek, member of the Swatch Group Management Board of Directors. "OMEGA appreciates and thrives on such qualities through creating watches that are assembled with extreme devotion and built to last," she added.

Endurance is a relatively young sport but one that is exceedingly challenging for the competitors, their steeds as well as the timekeepers due to the distances involved. The 160km race requires the horses to be checked by veterinarians at numerous intervals along the way before being allowed to continue. Competitors' times must be clocked at the different gates and a complete overview of time maintained throughout the race which can last well over 10 hours.

Equine Species Working Group - NAIS


NAIS Working Group for the Horse Industry

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the NAIS?

A: The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a voluntary program intended to identify animals and record their movements for the purpose of disease management and control. The ultimate goal of this identification system is to create an effective, uniform national animal tracing system that will help maintain the health of U.S. herds and flocks. When fully operational, it is hoped that it will allow animal tracing to be completed within 48 hours of disease detection, ensuring rapid containment of the disease, protecting our country’s animals and allowing for continued commerce.

Q: What is the ESWG?

A: Equine Species Working Group (ESWG) is the task force officially recognized by the USDA to evaluate the concept of the National Animal Identification System and its application to the equine industry. The group’s responsibility is to develop recommendations for a national equine identification plan that is in the best interests of, and protects the rights of, horse owners and breeders. The ESWG has submitted comments and continuously updated recommendations to USDA that distinguish the horse industry from other livestock, pointing out the unique characteristics of the industry and outlining our positions and concerns with a national ID program.

Q: Is the ESWG a committee of the American Horse Council?

A: No. The ESWG is an independent coalition of over 30 National Equine Organizations. The American Horse Council is one of the many members of the ESWG and as such is involved in evaluating the NAIS and developing recommendations on how the horse industry might fit into the program.

Q: Why is the ESWG reviewing any plan to include equines in the NAIS?

A: The ESWG is engaged because if the horse industry does not participate in the program’s evaluation and development, a national system could be implemented without its input. The purpose of the NAIS is to protect the livestock industry in case there is an outbreak of a potentially catastrophic animal disease or an attack of bio-terrorism. Either scenario could result in a significant loss to the horse industry and seriously limit a horse owner’s ability to move or export horses. There is strong support for NAIS at USDA, in Congress, with the state animal health authorities and within the livestock industry. The ESWG believes that it is in the best interests of the horse industry to work with those instituting NAIS to be sure that our industry’s specific concerns are understood and considered.

Q: Does the NAIS stop disease?

A: No. The NAIS is not a program that will stop disease, but is a program intended to stop the SPREAD of disease and to allow commerce and movement to continue if a disease outbreak does occur. The sooner animal health officials can identify infected and exposed animals and premises, the sooner they can contain the disease and stop its spread. This will also allow a quicker lifting of any restrictions on movement and commerce.

Q: Is the effort to create an equine identification plan linked in any way to the slaughter of horses for human consumption or meat quality?

A: NO. The plan is being formulated as a way to identify animals involved in an outbreak of serious infectious or contagious diseases that may spread rapidly among horses, other livestock or humans. The slaughter of horses for human consumption has not been a part of the discussions and the members of the ESWG include associations that support a ban on the slaughter of horses, organizations that oppose a ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption and organizations that do not have a position on the ban on slaughter of horses for human consumption. The NAIS is intended to protect animals from disease as well as to identify those that have a disease or may have been exposed to a disease so that they may be treated quickly and minimize the economic impact of the disease outbreak.

Q: Since horses are not used for human consumption in the U.S., why should the horse industry be involved in the NAIS?

A: The NAIS is about the health of our nation’s livestock, not just food safety. The horse industry is an integral part of this nation’s livestock community and as such has a responsibility to consider a national livestock program that will benefit it as well as other livestock industries. The horse industry benefits from being a part of the livestock industry through tax relief, disease control and research through the USDA and disaster funding.

Q: Are there diseases that affect horses that also affect other livestock or humans?

A: Yes, there are several. Some diseases that affect horses, other livestock and even humans include rabies, salmonella, ringworm, anthrax, screwworm and vesicular stomatitis. More information on the different diseases that can affect not only horses but other livestock and humans can be found in the diseases section of this booklet.

Q: Are there any bio-terrorism concerns involving equine diseases?

A: Several diseases of horses have long been recognized as capable of being used as a bio-terrorist weapon, such as glanders and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis. Glanders is a disease of horses, mules and donkeys and has not been found in the U.S. since the early 1900’s. Glanders can be spread to humans through horses and was used by the German army in World War I to sicken enemy soldiers. In its bioweapons program, the former Soviet Union was producing the bacterial agent that causes glanders as late as the early 1980's. Glanders continues to exist in several third world countries, some of which have recently become members of the European Union. The U.S. requires that all horses imported into the U.S., including

U.S. horses that are temporarily exported for competition purposes, to be tested negative for glanders before being permitted to enter (or re-enter as the case may be) the domestic population.

Q: What horses should be officially identified?

A: The ESWG has recommended that official identification is necessary when a horse is transported to any premises where a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), Brand Inspection, VS-127 permit, or International CVI is required. For the most part, this would exclude those horses participating in recreational activities, weekend ropings, trail rides, and other small gatherings of horses.

Q: Will I have to report every time my horse moves off its premises?

A: No. The ESWG has recommended to the USDA that no movements be recorded. The ESWG feels that the records maintained through the CVIs, Brand Inspections, VS-127 permits and International CVIs covers the high risk movements and are satisfactory for traceback purposes.

Q: Is the NAIS going to be mandatory in 2008?

A: The NAIS is a voluntary program. There are no regulations being developed at this time for the NAIS to be a nationally-mandated program. The ESWG has recommended that the plan not apply to the horse industry until 2010. There are many states, such as Wisconsin with mandatory premises registration, that are developing their own legislation on certain components of the NAIS. It is recommended that you check with your state Department of Agriculture to learn more on how your state is currently implementing the NAIS and what its future plans are for the program’s implementation.

Q: How do I get more information on the NAIS?

A: To find out more about the NAIS you can visit the following website: You can also visit the ESWG website found at We also recommend that you contact your state Department of Agriculture to learn more on how your state is progressing with the implementation with the NAIS. Contact information for each state Departments of Agriculture can be found on the previously mentioned NAIS website.

US to start microchipping racehorses - Full Story

March 14, 2008

The microchipping of thoroughbreds in the US is set to begin, with the Jockey Club now offering microchips for sale. Microchips are not currently a requirement for thoroughbred registration and participation is voluntary.

"In the US, a number of industry groups and trade associations are realizing the value of microchips as a means to support genetic testing and traditional markings-based procedures and provide an additional layer of confidence in identification at horse farms, veterinary clinics, transportation centers, horse sales and racetracks," said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club's vice president of registration services.

"After a careful and comprehensive study, we thought the time had come to offer microchips to owners and breeders."

The Jockey Club is offering LifeChip microchips, which are ISO 11784-compliant and manufactured by Digital Angel Corporation. Each microchip contains a unique 15-number sequence beginning with 840 (the country code for the United States). These microchips comply with the USDA's National Animal Identification System and are consistent with those utilized by international stud book authorities.

Microchips are available for $20 each. The Jockey Club will ship microchips only to addresses associated with a premises identification number (PIN) issued by the appropriate state or tribal animal health authority.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has determined that the implantation of a microchip is a veterinary procedure. Once the microchip is implanted the microchip number must be reported to The Jockey Club.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Horse Sense - Full Article

Published: 10 March 2008 10:41 AM
Source: The Engineer

Engineers from Cambridge Design Partnership spin-off GMax are developing a performance-measuring sensor system for horses that could bring success to equestrians the world over.

The system will be built into a sleeve that slides over a horse's girth, providing real-time information about essential physical, physiological, and environmental information that is then transmitted wirelessly to a PDA, laptop or to the internet via mobile phone. The rider can then receive feedback to help control the horse's progress via a wrist-worn device.

Immediate access to such information — which can also include the horse's gait, temperature and breathing — allows training to be optimised when horse, trainer, vet and rider are in separate locations.

Will Bradley, a project leader at Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) said the idea for the technology came after a meeting with leading endurance rider Dominique Freeman, who was working for one of CDP's biggest medical devices clients.

California-based Freeman, who represents Great Britain, suggested that her performance could be improved if she had 'some sort of dashboard' for her horse...


Thursday, March 06, 2008



Young horses learn faster and have more positive interactions with humans when they receive food as a reward during training, according to a new study presented at the 34th Annual Equine Research Day held in Paris, France, on Feb. 28. Yearlings that received grain pellets as compensation for appropriate reactions to vocal commands were up to 40% faster to acquire new skills than a control group of yearlings that received no rewards. Continue reading...

or, if it's not still there:

Study Correlates Food Rewards with Positive Responses during Training
The Horse
by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre

Young horses learn faster and have more positive interactions with humans when they receive food as a reward during training, according to a new study presented at the 34th Annual Equine Research Day held in Paris, France, on Feb. 28.

Yearlings that received grain pellets as compensation for appropriate reactions to vocal commands were up to 40% faster to acquire new skills than a control group of yearlings that received no rewards. The training primarily involved respecting the words "stop" and "stay" and remaining immobile while the trainer performed certain grooming tasks and veterinary procedures on the horse.

"What we're hoping to do is develop techniques which will allow us to obtain the animal's confidence in us, without using constraints," said Carol Sankey, MSc, a PhD candidate in ethology (the study of animal behavior) at the University of Rennes in western France, and co-author on the study. At the previous Research Day event, Sankey's team presented findings that force can result in a negative relationship between horses and humans.

yarling receives a treat during behavior study

A yearling in the study receives a food reward.

Courtesy of Dr. Carol Sankey
Sankey and her team devised a series of objectives that the yearlings in both the reward and the no-reward groups were expected to attain in a consecutive order. After learning to stop and stay by voice command only, each animal learned to wait patiently with the leadline draped over its neck while the trainer brushed it, picked its hooves, attached a surcingle, applied tendon boots, inserted a thermometer in its rectum, and finally applied a "vapor spray" (simulating applying fly spray or coat polish) over its coat. All eight colts and 15 fillies involved in the study received training individually for five minutes per day, five days per week, until the entire set of objectives was obtained. The amount of time to achieve each task and the totality of the tasks was recorded for both groups.

On average, the reward group finished their training in 3.7 hours whereas the control group needed 5.2 hours to acquire the same tasks. "There wasn't even any overlap," Sankey explained. "The slowest horse in the reward group still learned faster than the fastest horse in the control group."

Additionally, by the end of the training period, horses in the reward group were more likely to voluntarily approach the trainer and to remain at a closer distance to her than the control horses were. Sankey noted that the horses in the reward group displayed more behaviors considered positive by the researchers, including significantly more sniffing, exploration, and licking of the trainer. Horses in the control group were significantly more likely to bite, kick, or fall over during hoof cleaning.

Cross-Species Deworming

by: Craig R. Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD

Question: We have a stable yard with over 50 horses. The horses are on a quarterly deworming program. In the middle of the summer, we deworm the horses for tapeworms. How do the worm infestations of horses and domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, correspond with each other, if at all? If we deworm the horses now, but horse owners' pets are carrying a load of worms, can these animals reinfect the horses again?

Would it be beneficial to run horses and domestic pets (and even their owners) on the same deworming program?

Claire, South Africa


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bad news for heavy riders and narrow horses - Full Article

March 3, 2008

Researchers in the US have bad news for overweight horse riders. A study has found that horses who have to carry between 25 and 30 per cent of their bodyweight have more physical problems related to exercise than those who carry 20 percent or less.

Horses carrying 30% body weight showed a significant increase in muscle soreness and muscle tightness scores. The changes were less marked when they carried 25% body weight.